July 31st, 2000

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Peter the Great

By Steven H. McGarthwaite, White Bear Lake, Minnesota, USA

I spent the weekend at the cabin "Up North," near Outing, Minnesota. I arose early Sunday morning, planning on spending the early morning hours fishing. The previous evening my daughter's boyfriend said that he wished to join me, as he enjoyed our previous day's fishing trip. It was a beautiful summer day, the air was still cool, with the smell of dew still on the foliage. The sky was clear, with wisps of clouds, gently moving across the sky. The birds were singing their 'Morning Song,' all was right with the world. You could not ask for a more perfect day. I felt that today was going to be special. I didn't know how right I would be.

At the dock, I tidied up the boat, making sure everything was prepared and in place for a morning on the water. I retrieved the fishing gear from the boat house, and setup the boat, for some time on the water. Then I waited, for my fishing partner to arrive, and waited . . . After a long wait, I don't know how long, as I never wear a watch (when I am on my time). I decided to fish just off shore of the dock, just along the shoreline, for whatever may be there. So when my tardy fishing partner (who was so eager to go fishing) finally shows, I would be nearby.

I found myself, out on the water, casting my 3 weight line, towards shore, a scant 12 meters away. The land around the lake is steep, and the water gets deep quickly, so there is a very narrow ribbon of aquatic structure along the shore. The lake is fully developed with cabins and summer homes, but the buildings are far enough back, so that they are hidden in the trees. Except for the evidence the docks (with their accompanying boats) that jut out into the lake, and the occasional boat house on shore. The lake has an almost pristine look, further enhanced by the ever-present pair of Loons, floating on the water. As my boat drifted along the shore, I met Peter, who was in the process of diligently catching fish.

Peter was standing in a boat at, the end of the dock, fishing with his cane pole. He was excited, he had a fish on the hook, and it was pure enjoyment to watch him struggle with that fish. The fish gave a gallant fight, but Peter proved himself the better and finally brought the fish to net. Peter quickly removed the hook from the fish's mouth, and gently holding the fish, while measuring to see if it would be a keeper. Then, since it was too small, he quickly and gently returned the fish to the water. The lack of size to the fish did not disappoint him. He reveled in the moment. I have known Peter for a few years, and I have come to enjoy his company. So I decided to anchor the boat just a little way offshore, to share the early morning time fishing near him. And enjoying his delight with every fish he caught.

Peter would catch three fish for every fish that I was able to hook. But since he was using bait, that is very understandable. Yet I was not lacking in the pleasures of bringing fish to net either. I observed Peter, using all the proper conduct of a responsible angler, who practices the discipline of 'Catch & Release.' Finally he caught one that was much bigger than the others that he had returned to the water. He was so excited at the size that he was shouting his words, as he described the fish to me. It was a keeper, and I was glad for him. He put down his fishing gear and ran up the hill to show his Grandpa Chuck the 8-inch Yellow Perch he had just caught.

"Peter the Great," is eight years old, and starts the Third Grade of school this coming autumn. May he have many years of fishing pleasure, and may he never lose the thrill, that I was allowed to partake in that very special morning. At the lake, "Up North." ~ Steven H. McGarthwaite

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